Category Archives: Video Games

Mechwarrior Online World Championship Semi-Finals Seeding Games

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The double-elimination tournament may be over, and we may know which teams could be this year’s World Champions, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with competitive ‘Mech action! Not by a long shot.

In preparation for the three team’s final showdown in Vancouver later in December, PGI scheduled two seeding games last Saturday to determine the order by which the teams will play. The third place 228th Black Watch took on second place EON Synergy, and the winner of that game played against first-place EmpyreaL.

As pointed out by BanditB17 during the Twitch cast, the matches are largely exhibition games, but the stakes are certainly real as all three teams will be able to scout out their opponents to discover what tactics they’ll have to defeat at the world finals. With Mechwarrior Online recently receiving a balance patch as well, it gives all teams a chance to determine if their customized rides are still tournament worthy.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Each game was best of three, with the first battle between 228th Black Watch and EON Synergy taking place on Tourmaline Desert, a map notorious for overheating ‘Mechs. Right off the bat, a 228th lance composed of Assassins and Arctic Cheetahs rushed forward to sneak beneath a ravine and pounce upon an unsuspecting EON Summoner. For a moment it looked like they’d get the quick kill, but EON responded by diverting heavier elements to thwart the assassination attempt. The light lance melted back to take resource point Theta and then hide amongst the terrain.

A bout of long-range fire began as both teams formed firing lines, with 228th maneuvering EON Synergy into a corner of the map. As they retreated an EON Summoner got caught out in the open and was nearly taken down, while EON responded with airstrikes that wounded the 228th’s own Summoners. However, EON had ceded most of the map by this point and allowed the 228th to acquire all but one resource point. EON was in danger of losing the round if they didn’t respond soon.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

And respond EON Synergy did, pushing down the west side of the map to take a 228th Supernova by surprise. The 228th then seemed to panic, with the whole team turning west but dropping into a crater along the way. That crater turned into a death trap as EON ‘Mechs were able to pummel the 228th from the crater’s rim, taking out another pair of enemy ‘Mechs. Down by three chassis, 228th couldn’t survive the ensuing brawl. First drop to EON Synergy.

The second drop was played on Canyon Network, and was comparatively much less exciting. Both teams took to the ridges and mesas to set up firing lines. EON Synergy kept firing while 228th kept retreating from EON’s lasers and ER PPCs. The 228th did manage to have their lighter elements take out an EON Hunchback IIC and Supernova, but lost a pair of ‘Mechs of their own. The 228th machines then started to reach their combat loss grouping after a pair of deadly air strikes, falling like dominoes until EON Synergy emerged victoriously.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

EON then went on to fight EmpyreaL for the second game of the night. Just like last year, EmpyreaL has taken the tournament by storm and has yet to lose a single game. This would be a vital opportunity for EON Synergy to search out a chink in the EmpyreaL juggernaut’s armor.

EmpyreaL wasn’t about to make the task easy for them.

The first drop once again played out on Canyon Network, with EmpyreaL bringing an eclectic mix of ‘Mechs to battle. A pair of light machine gun toting Mist Lynxes for lights along with a rarely seen Warhawk Prime dropped with their signature Streak SRM Huntsman, providing EON with some unusual targets to deal with.

Emp vs EON

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Unfortunately for EON Synergy, they didn’t seem to learn how to deal with those targets fast enough, as the Mist Lynxes and Huntsman pushed the west side of the map to ambush their Wolfhounds. Empyreal lost their Streak-Huntsman in the exchange, but by then the Mist Lynxes were able to start punishing EON’s heavier elements with impunity, tearing through their lines like buzzsaw wielding maniacs. As EON ‘Mechs began to fall the heavier EmpyreaL elements closed in to mop up the survivors, proving that light ‘Mechs can be deadly combatants if left unchecked.

Drop two had the same mix of units for both sides, but EmpyreaL swapped their Warhawk for an Ultra AC/2 boating Mauler for the hotter climate of Tourmaline Desert. At first, EmpyreaL seemed to lose out on the usual exchange of long-range fire, but it all turned out to be part of EmpyreaL’s larger strategy to exchange armor for map control. EmpyreaL’s lighter elements took the central resource point giving them 3 of the 5 available. Then they simply waited as their points began to stack up, forcing EON Synergy to attack.

Emp vs EON

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Attack they did, but EmpyreaL had taken defensive positions and prepared for the oncoming assault. After the EON rush, EmpyreaL picked up three quick kills and forced them to retreat. Unfortunately for EON, by then the resource tickets had already gotten above 700, giving them mere seconds to defeat all remaining EmpyreaL forces – a simply impossible task, given the skill of EmpyreaL’s pilots. Once again, EmpyreaL remains undefeated in World Championship games.

With EmpyreaL remaining in top form, EON Synergy and 228th will have a rematch of their latest encounter for the first game of the World Championship Finals. The winner of that game will move on to meet EmpyreaL, and by that point they had better have prepared for the onslaught of the toughest team around.

Tune in next time for our direct coverage of the Mechwarrior Online World Championship coming to you from beautiful downtown Vancouver, Canada as Empyreal defends their title. 

BATTLETECH Multiplayer Review – A Battle Of Titans

BATTLETECH

It’s certainly taken some time, but as promised in our previous look at the game, I’ve finally found someone to test out the BATTLETECH multiplayer experience. Tony “Deux” Wendover agreed to be my honorable opponent-cum-guinea pig, and we shared a grueling hour-long battle, putting every aspect of BATTLETECH to the test. How’d the game hold up? Read on to find out!

The Setup

We decided to stick with a relatively light engagement believing that it would allow us to get more than one game in (which we were very wrong about, as it turns out). I decided to go with a pair of Centurion CN9-As, a Panther PNT-9R, and a Commando COM-1B as a scout ‘Mech. Unlike in my vs. PC games, I wouldn’t know what my opponent decided to field until I met him on the field of battle.

Setup

Before commencing our duel I took special care to ensure that my Commando pilot had the Sensor Lock skill, as I knew from my previous experiences that it would prove invaluable for long-range combat. Without it, it can be very difficult to exchange fire at extreme range.

I should have known this wouldn’t be as easy as fighting a computer, but this was why I’d brought a dedicated scout ‘Mech.

The drop counter ticked down, and then I was presented with a brand new map as our combat arena. The terrain was basically a rocky desert much like Arizona, filled with buttes and mesas, as well as curious mineral fields that Deux kindly explained to me acted as amplifiers for energy weapons. Not only would the crystal formations make any ‘Mech’s energy weapons more powerful when standing inside them, it also made that ‘Mech harder to hit for the enemy. I tried to keep that in mind as I ran my lance north trying to stay on top of a ridge.

My Commando scouted ahead as it was significantly faster than the rest of my lance. The game gave me a general direction of where my opponent would be coming from, but besides that, I had precious little information until I made contact.

The Battle Begins

As my Commando passed what appeared to be a gas station and approached a butte its sensors rang out with contacts: two light ‘Mechs of unknown type. Excited, I gathered my lance on top of a small hill on the opposite side of the butte and ran my Commando into a nearby forest for cover and so he could keep his sensors on the approaching ‘Mechs.

My enemy must have detected my lance as well since the two blips stopped approaching just as I’d gotten my lance into firing position. I should have known this wouldn’t be as easy as fighting a computer, but this was why I’d brought a dedicated scout ‘Mech. I ran my Commando into a mineral field to the east of the butte and used the pilot’s Sensor Lock ability to identify one of the enemy ‘Mechs: a Panther.

The confidence I’d gained from knowing one of my opponent’s chassis was short-lived, as that same Panther jumped forward and fired its PPC into my own Panther. It struck the right arm and exposed its own PPC to critical hits as all the armor had been melted off.

Missed Panther

I’d thought the jump into combat would prove risky for my opponent as it brought it well within the range of my Centurion’s AC/10 and LRMs, but my return fire proved ineffective as the AC/10 missed wide as did most of the missiles fired.

Then from the west, a mysterious flight of 5 LRMs struck my beleaguered Panther in the side. My sensors hadn’t picked up anything that far out, so it caught me entirely by surprise. An LRM-5 I knew could mean a Shadowhawk or a Vindicator, both capable long-ranged designs. It also left me in a strange position: I knew there was a ‘Mech far enough to the west to be out of range of my sensors, but there were two light ‘Mechs just ahead of me within firing range. I could split my forces as my opponent had, or I could press onward and try to take the light ‘Mechs before they could retreat.

Two centurions in a forest

I decided to press, jumping my Panther forward into a mineral field to get it out of the sights of the mystery ‘Mech and into cover, while my Centurions juked into a nearby forest. Along the way they opened fire on the enemy Panther, again missing with their AC/10s. This would become a theme for the rest of the game.

For their part, the enemy decided to start targeting my Commando that had been using Sensor Sock and allowing the rest of my lance to fire on them. Their PPCs missed, and only a few errant SRMs managed to touch my forward scout. My light ‘Mech then crept forward to continue to bear witness to the enemy when the fourth and final ‘Mech appeared on my sensors behind the butte. I now knew where my enemy was, but I only knew that one of them was a Panther.

LRM raining on Panther

Sensor locking the Panther again allowed my Centurions to fire indirect LRMs as it retreated behind the hill, with around half pocking armor all over the enemy light. One Centurion opened up with its deadly AC/10 and finally struck its target. The savaged panther limped back into cover while my Commando dogged it, while the mystery ‘Mech in the west tried to provide covering fire by lighting off its LRM-5 on my scout, again with most missiles missing.

The tag team of LRM carrying ‘Mechs like my Centurions and a scout ‘Mech with Sensor Lock was proving to be my best asset, and I was loathed to lose it so early in the engagement.

Then, in a surprise move, a second enemy Panther jumped on top of the butte and fired down on one of my Centurions. It managed to do some damage, but the tactic left me confused as it exposed this newcomer to fire from my entire lance. But game mechanics managed to save him as he jumped away before my heavier ‘Mechs could open fire. The enemy Panther took a shot in the leg from my own Panther before firing its PPC at my Commando, pegging it dead in the chest and exposing its center torso before jumping back behind the butte.

With my scout ‘Mech grievously wounded I decided to maneuver him to behind my side of the butte so as to avoid enemy fire entirely. The tag team of LRM carrying ‘Mechs like my Centurions and a scout ‘Mech with Sensor Lock was proving to be my best asset, and I was loathed to lose it so early in the engagement.

A Change Of Tactics

We were once again in a bit of a stalemate, with three of the enemy ‘Mechs on one side of the butte (two of which were certainly Panthers), my lance on the other, and a still unidentified LRM-5 carrying ‘Mech somewhere to the west of me. I decided it was time to move on that mystery ‘Mech and get out of this silly business with the butte.

I kinda wish there was another word to describe it, but it’s too small to be a mesa and too big to be called a hill. Butte is basically it.

Anyway, my paired Centurions began to maneuver to the west while my damaged Panther and Commando stayed behind to keep the enemy at bay. My Panther and an enemy Panther traded fire, with mine ending up the worse for wear, while my Centurions closed to within sensor range to ID the mystery ‘Mech as a medium. No surprise there – Shadowhawks and Vindicators are both medium ‘Mechs.

One of the enemy Panthers exposed itself a little too far around the butte and took fire from my Centurion’s LRM-10 and AC/10 for its trouble, taking its PPC-carrying right arm clean off. Sensing blood I doubled my Centurion’s back so they could continue to wail on the open Panther.

Firing On Griffin

Suddenly, the western mystery ‘Mech decided to make a break for it and managed to get itself close enough to my Commando that I could finally identify it: a rare Griffin GRF-1S. Not what I was expecting, and certainly a tough foe to handle as it was faster and more armored than most of the ‘Mechs I was fielding.

While I was distracted by the Griffin a third enemy Panther peaked around the opposite side of the butte and managed to get a bead on my Commando. The PPC blast took the right arm Large Laser clean off, while the SRMs further damaged what little armor remained on my poor scout.

Commando Arm Blown Off

My Centurions again chased away the encroaching Panther, but not before the Griffin launched a spread of LRMs into my Commando, taking off its other arm. My armless Commando then tried to bury itself into the wall of the butte to save itself and just use sensor lock for the remainder of the engagement.

Frustrated, I decided to take a move out of the enemy’s playbook and jumped my Panther on top of the butte to fire it’s PPC down on its closest foe. The PPC missed, but the SRMs savaged armor all over the previously damaged Panther as well as providing targeting data for my Centurions to rain LRMs from afar. I was also finally able to identify the last enemy light ‘Mech: yet another Panther PNT-9R. 

Panther Shot on Butte

Deux had more tricks up his sleeve. He jumped his previously PPC-less Panther not just on top of the butte, but on top of my own Panther as a Death From Above maneuver. Both ‘Mechs took damage and fell over in some sort of hilarious synchronized dance. Unfortunately, my ‘Mechs were too close to the butte to fire on the toppled Panther, while my opponent’s ‘Mechs could pump fire into my downed Panther. Which they did, destroying it. One ‘Mech down for the good guys.

Panther on Panther DFA

I responded with more LRM fire but my enemy sensed blood in the water. He brought Panthers around both sides of the butte to try and get a bead on my crippled Commando. His Panthers took devastating fire, and I sensed my Commando’s days were numbered. I did what any good commander would and decided to suicide charge my Commando into the enemy, firing its remaining SRM-2 as it went.

Commando Headbutt!

Surprisingly, the Panther’s return fire all missed and my Commando got into melee range, headbutting a Panther from behind. As the Panther turned to face its wily foe it exposed its back armor to my Centurions, allowing me to savage its rear armor and blow off a leg. It fell over, but while I was distracted the Griffin came back into range and fired its Large Laser and LRM-5 at my Centurion. It still had plenty of armor and shrugged off the assault while returning fire with everything it had. Again, my AC/10 missed and only a few missiles and a Medium Laser struck the target.

I was beginning to think my Mechwarriors would need to hit the gunnery range rather hard after this engagement. If they lived through it, that is.

Shin kick

The Panther on top of the butte got up and rained down SRMs but received a battering from my Centurion for its trouble, losing both side torsos and a leg. Meanwhile, my Commando continued to melee attack, kicking the shins of the downed Panther in front of it. Despite some setbacks, things were looking up for our heroes.

That’s when the third enemy Panther jumped on my Commando, killing it.

Dead commando

I was in a bad spot. Although two of the enemy Panthers were little more than hobbling torsos, having lost both arms and a leg, they still had an SRM-4 to fire with and jump jets to continue an aerial assault. There was also a completely fresh Panther and a mostly undamaged Griffin to contend with, while my Centurions were starting to feel a little worn from combat.

I swung my remaining forces wide into a forest for cover while the enemy Griffin and Panther continued to trade long range fire. My AC/10 again missed the mark again and again while the enemy’s PPC never seemed to miss.

Close Range Griffin Combat

In desperation I split my forces, leaving one Centurion to contend with the pack of Panthers while the other hunted down the Griffin. My Centurion pilot managed to finally catch the Griffin in the open, savaging its right torso to the point where it cooked off the remaining LRM ammunition. Unfortunately, it had already spent most of those missiles, leaving too few remaining for an instant kill but still removing the arm and leg. It was almost defenseless, or so I thought.

Down, But Not Out

Meanwhile, the Panther pack had done a number on my remaining Centurion, taking off its AC/10 right arm (not that it was doing me much good). The crippled Panthers were doing their best to hop from one side of the butte to the other, while the mostly fresh Panther on top kept raining fire down into my medium ‘Mech.

Griffin Headbutt

The opposing Griffin proved to still be in the fight as once again a Death From Above maneuver was performed, only this time on my Centurion. Somehow it managed to take off my Centurion’s leg despite the fact it was jumping on top of it, and both players scratched their heads in confusion at the sight. Worse, my Centurion was knocked over, losing precious time righting itself while the Panther pack closed in.

My other Centurion finally managed to kill one of the damaged Panthers, but the pack had closed and was now within jumping range. The remaining crippled Panther jumped on top of my armless Centurion, committing honorable seppuku in its quest for victory. I respected its decision to give its life for the cause but hated the fact it had knocked over my only upright Centurion.

Suicide Panther

A normal commander would have surrendered at this point, but I am no ordinary commander. Even while my Centurions were being kicked and blasted with PPCs, we fought on to the last. My Centurions rose like the mighty gladiators they were and continued to fight back, taking aim at the dangerous PPC-toting Panther but again failing to disarm the deadly opponent. The Centurion tangling with the Griffin also took a point-blank shot with its two Medium Lasers, and despite the fact that they were separated by mere inches one laser shot wide.

Stupid Centurion

In return, the crippled Griffin ducked its head and charged, headbutting my Centurion in the chest and disabling the engine. I was down to a single ‘Mech.

Never give up, never surrender. My remaining Centurion blasted away at the Panther while the crippled enemy Griffin did what the previous two Panthers had and hopped one-legged to within melee range. Overheating, and unable to split my fire between two targets, the Griffin closed to within headbutting distance.

Then the medium ‘Mech bowed, as though honoring its foe, before it thrust its deadly head straight through my Centurion’s chest. I had lost.

Last Mech Down

I was heartened by the fact that there was barely a single enemy ‘Mech between the two surviving chassis, and that each of our engagements had devolved into fisticuffs. Had my AC/10 shots found their marks, it could have been a very different game. Also, I’ve determined that a ‘Mech’s head is actually the most deadly weapon it possesses and will base all my future ‘Mech choices on the size of its metal cranium.

Thanks again to Deux for the delightful game, and I hope to get another one in by the time the next big BATTLETECH patch hits.

And as always, Mechwarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

An Interview with Jordan Weisman at GenCon 50

So yeah, this one is coming is pretty late. I do apologize to the readers out there. After GenCon got really hectic for me professionally, and, well, it is what it is. 

At this point, the game has progressed a bit past the improvements of the then new patch that Jordan and I discussed, so I’m going to re-tool my original interview to be my impressions of the interview and of Jordan and what we talked about. 

GenCon 50 has come and gone. Wow. I have to pause and let that sink in every year.

I spend the better part of six to eight months in a year planning for and making sure that I get everything in my professional and personal life squared away in order to make sure I can make it to GenCon.

Now, that’s not to say that I do so at the peril of myself or those around me. No, GenCon is for me that one time of year when I don’t have to explain anything about what I do professionally or for fun to anybody. Everyone there understands it. So I tend to make sure I can go.

With the Post-GenCon Recovery Period (I swear it’s a thing!) still affecting some of us (mostly in the finance region), I need to take the time to share some key aspects of the experience. In particular, I want to share with you all the hour of time I spent talking to Jordan Weisman, creator of BattleTech and one of the heads of Harebrained Schemes, about the new computer game version of BattleTech.

A note on how I am going to reflect on this time. My recording app malfunctioned during the actual interview portion, so I only have the notes that I took from the interview. As such, I won’t directly quote Weisman unless I wrote down his exact phrasing.

First, BattleTech had a huge development release the day that I spoke to Weisman. They had just released the first multi-player backer beta build for the game, so the Harebrained booth was abuzz with fans playing the new version as well as many people standing around to watch the action on the screen, stand behind their friends, and just chat about BattleTech in general.

I met Jordan Weisman a little before our interview, stopping by to verify the time, and he said he was looking forward to sitting down, playing a round of the new release, and then talking!

Wait.

What?!

I was going to get to go head-to-head against Jordan Weisman in BATTLETECH?!!!!

I was already excited about the interview itself, but finding out I’d get to actually play a game with Jordan Weisman was icing on an already delicious looking cake.

So, the time came, and we sat down to play. We selected out Mechs and dove on in. My experience with the BattleTech Beta at that point had been in the 10-12 hour range, so I knew I was at an extreme disadvantage going up against Weisman.

I was right.

The following thirty minutes was a whirlwind of back and forth not-quite-trash-talking as I sent my Lance in hard and fast….straight into the wall of strategy and effective tactics that was Weisman’s way of war. My Lance got picked apart one `Mech at a time, and it was glorious!

After his pyrrhic victory, Weisman humbly asked if I’d enjoyed it, and of course I did!

Because I foolishly didn’t fanboy hard enough, I don’t have a selfie with Jordan Weisman for the article! This will have to do. Weisman is seen here showing off the Kickstarter flight jacket reward.

So then we sat down and talked about the game, much of which is old news at this point. But the highlights that remain with me can be summed up in a few points.

  • The BattleTech community is great, and Weisman and Harebrained love every bit of interaction they get with us. They live off of our energy, and then they give it right back us in the best ways possible.
  • The next phase for Harebrained and BattleTech in general is what Weisman called “outreach,” continuing to get the word out, and the established community is a huge part of that. Harebrained want BattleTech to find every gamer and to read out beyond the pull it has now to get even bigger.
  • Now that the core mechanics of the game itself are established, there’s still much more to do in the way of developing the story, lore, and the extended campaign. Even though we’re a couple of months down the road from when I spoke to Weisman, I know they’re still hammering away at making the campaign the best experience it can possibly be.
  • There is nowhere else that Weisman and his team would rather be than right where they, making BattleTech. They’re pumped up. They love our excitement for the game and universe, and they look forward to much more BattleTech in the future.

For me, this short game and talk with Jordan Weisman will be one of only two or three stand-out moments from GenCon 50 that I know I will keep in my memory for many years to come.

It’s not just a fanboy moment. I mean, yeah, it’s a little bit of that, but it’s also more. Jordan Weisman’s enthusiasm for BattleTech is amazing, and that really has kept me charged up for everything to do with the game(s), on the table and on the screen.

Thank you to Jordan Weisman and Harebrained Schemes for working to bring us this amazing gaming experience in our favorite universe. We look forward to its release, and hope for more after it!

MechWarrior Online World Championships Second and Third Round Recap

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

It’s been another wild weekend for the Mechwarrior Online World Championship, with both the second and third round of matches having taken place in a whirlwind series of matches that pilots from all over the world battling it out at all hours of the day and night. Our resident Twitch casters must be having a rough Monday since they clearly didn’t get enough sleep last weekend. And who would with such an amazing number of games played between the best Mechwarriors in the world?

Let’s once again recap the weekend’s results and see which top three teams will be flown out to Vancouver to take part in the World Championship Finals.

The first match of the winner’s bracket brings the 228th Black Watch against EON Synergy, the top European team from last year’s championship. In the first game on Canyon Network, Black Watch tried to push through the map’s namesake canyon but lost a ‘Mech to an EON ambush. The early ‘Mech loss snowballed into a blowout, resulting in EON taking the game with 6 machines remaining. In their second game the 228th performed better, maneuvering EON into an ambush themselves on Tourmaline Desert by sending a fast group of Assassins and Arctic Cheetahs to bait EON into the open and picking them apart piecemeal.

Black Watch vs EON -

via piranhagames on Twitch

The third game was a brutal display of skill with EON eventually having three heavily damaged ‘Mechs to Black Watch’s two. It was a nail-biting several minutes as Black Watch went for a resource capture win, eventually emerging victorious with 750 points to 734. Black Watch won the match 2 games to 1 and moved on to face the winner of the Osiriz versus EmpyreaL match.

EmpyreaL had a fairly lackluster first showing against Phoenix Legion last week, coming out the winner but not showing their normal crushing display of power. That all changed when they fought Osiriz on Saturday. EmpyreaL took no prisoners, demolishing Osiriz in both games. Of particular note was an EmpyreaL Huntsman loaded with Streak Missiles that managed to use them to great effect against the Osiriz Wolfhounds. After eliminating their light ‘Mechs in both games, EmpyreaL then was able to outmaneuver and outshoot Osiriz, taking both games without losing a single pilot.

If there was any doubt last weekend as to EmpyreaL’s chances in this tournament it was silenced with this match. EmpyreaL was back, and they are terrifying.

JGx vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

Our next match saw Russian Jade Falcon Spikes against the First Jaguar Guards. RJFS continued their winning streak in the tournament, controlling both games against the First Jaguar Guards without breaking a sweat. RJFS crushed the First Jaguars in two games, eliminating them from the tournament.

Next up was the Steel Jaguars versus 228th The Wild Ones in a series of close games that showcased both team’s finesse as Mechwarriors. The first game was notable for having a series of airstrikes that totally changed the balance of power, first with a blind SJR strike eliminating a Wild Ones ‘Mech, and then with both teams launching strikes into a melee that saw each team lose pilots. When the dust settled it was down to a 5v5, with the Wild Ones just managing to come ahead in the ensuing firefight.

Wild Ones vs SJR

via piranhagames on Twitch

However, The Wild Ones would drop a heartbreaking second game. After controlling four out of five resource points for much of the game, SJR engaged in a series of firefights that would eventually leave all but one Wild Ones light ‘Mech left and only a few seconds before achieving a resource victory. But SJR managed to catch him in time and secure the win for their second game. By the third game The Wild Ones seemed to lose steam, swinging right into a firing line of SJR ‘Mechs only to be completely annihilated. The Wild Ones head home after their second loss, and SJR proceed to the next round.

The next match brought EmpyreaL and 228th Black Watch together in a clash of titans that could be a preview of the finals to take place in December. The first game began as a gentlemanly exchange of long-range fire until EmpyreaL pounced on a pair of Black Watch Hunchback IICs, quickly eliminating them and an Arctic Cheetah that came to assist. With three ‘Mechs down EmpyreaL was easily able to wipe out the remaining Black Watch machines with little effort.

Empyreal vs 228

via piranhagames on Twitch

EmpyreaL then showed their ability to brawl in the second game, converging on a Black Watch lance in the middle of Tourmaline and coming out way ahead in the close quarters combat, taking the game without a single loss. Once again EmpyreaL shows their incredible talent against one of the best teams in the world, sweeping Black Watch in two brief games.

The Steel Jaguars were hoping to keep their tournament dreams alive as their next game brought them against the European regional champions, EON Synergy. In their first game it seemed like luck was on their side as after losing a series of long-range trades SJR managed to eliminate an EON Hunchback IIC, giving them the early lead. But EON responded in kind by eliminating an SJR Hunchback with their roaming Wolfhounds. Several good critical hits then put EON Synergy ahead, who were able to then eliminate the SJR side with only a few losses of their own.

SJR vs Eon Synergy

via piranhagames on Twitch

In their second game SJR seemed to push very strongly at the beginning but EON saw the power play and pulled back before they could receive any strong hits. From there SJR seemed to go for a resource capture strategy but then again pushed hard right into the EON Synergy lines. However, this time EON was well prepared and met the SJR push with a withering fusillade that took out the entire opposing force. With their second loss SJR was eliminated from the tournament.

Unfortunately the Osiriz versus RJFS match was played at the same time as EON Synergy versus SJR, so I wasn’t able to view both matches. However, I was able to watch a replay, and the first game was a very steady progression of long-range fire turning to short range brawling, with both sides losing armor by the ton. Finally one Osiriz light ‘Mech snuck into the RJFS lines and began to take down machines left and right, leading to Osiriz taking the game.

Osiriz vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

The second game went in favor of the Russian Jade Falcons in a horrific brawl that saw both sides take massive losses. The third game on Polar Highlands, a very rare map to see, went in favor of the Russians as they pushed into Osiriz early on with the Osiriz warriors responding sluggishly, losing machines along the way. The remaining Osiriz Summoner succeeded in robbing RJFS of their final kill by running out of bounds committing the Mechwarrior Online equivalent of seppuku.

Ultimately Osiriz were sent home after a series of tough games leading to Eon Synergy and RJFS meeting for the second time in the tournament. Eon Synergy took their first meeting, but the Russian Jade Falcons put up a hell of a fight. Will they manage to defeat their rivals in the second match up?

Airstrikes and long range fire defined the first few minutes of their first game, with EON Synergy coming ahead and eventually savaging two RJFS lights. As has been shown so many times in the tournament the loss of your light ‘Mechs early on can be disastrous as it allows your opponent to outmaneuver you while denying any ability to respond.

EON Synergy vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

EON took the first game easily, but the second game wouldn’t be so simple. RJFS changed tactics, bringing an aggressive lance of Linebackers and Executioners to quickly ram into EON and force a firefight. At first it seemed to work, getting four quick kills for only two losses of their own, but the tide then turned in favor of EON Synergy as the armor of the RJFS machines began to fail. With the final RJFS ‘Mech falling they were eliminated from the tournament losing once again to EON Synergy.

With the elimination of RJFS, we have our remaining three teams to meet in Vancouver at the World Finals: EON Synergy, 228th Black Watch, and EmpyreaL. Two of these teams are veteran World Finals contenders, while Black Watch are making their first appearance on the world stage. But will either team have the strength to overcome EmpyreaL, who seems to have once again become the unstoppable juggernaut they were in the previous tournament?

Top 3 teams

Find out at the Mechwarrior Online World Championships this December 9th in beautiful downtown Vancouver Canada, where your very own Sarna reporter will tweet you the live play-by-play.

 

MechWarrior Online World Champs First Round Recap

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The weekend has come and gone, and that means we’ve had our first round of matches for the MechWarrior Online World Championships. There’ve already been a few teams eliminated from this double-elimination tournament, with other teams proving their mettle against a field of truly awesome contenders. Let’s take a look at the standings after a weekend of ‘Mech action.

Our first match actually took place September 17th between Russian Jade Falcon/Spikes and 228th Wild Ones due to a bit of a scheduling hiccup, but there were certainly no hiccups in the match. The Wild Ones managed to take an early lead in the best of three games, taking out 2 RJFS ‘Mechs which allowed them to wrap-up the rest of the match easily. However, RJFS rallied and took the remaining two games in a brutal display of gunnery, eliminating the majority of The Wild Ones’ machines and giving them the victory.

Our next match took place last Thursday between the North American 228th Black Watch versus the Steel Jaguars, with Black Watch taking the meeting 2 games to nothing. The Steel Jaguars seemed entirely outclassed in both games, allowing Black Watch to easily move on to the winner’s brackets.

D5 vs OZ

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last Saturday brought several games to Twitch, starting with Dropship 5 against Osiriz. This match went to its full three games with the first round a brutal battle of attrition. PPCs and laser fire lit up the map as each side traded long distance fire. Ultimately Osiriz managed to take the first game, but just barely, with the second game going to Dropship 5 by an equally slim margin on resource points. In the final round Dropship 5 once again tried to go for a resource win but fell prey to some clever maneuvering from Osiriz that managed to split the Dropship 5 forces and gang up on half of them before the other half could respond, giving Osiriz the victory.

Next we have White Death Mercenary Company against the Phoenix Legion which immediately devolved into an insane brawl on HPG Manifold. Lasers, missiles, and autocannons lit up outer space as each team ran into close quarters combat. Air strikes from both teams continually pounded the melee, getting friendly and enemy kills alike, but the Phoenix Legion strikes proved to be better aimed as they swung the first game from a 6v4 to a 3v4 in one swoop of an Aerospace fighter‘s tail. The Legion also took the second game as well, but it may have been a pyrrhic victory as this put the Legion against last year’s Champions for their next round: EmpyreaL.

RJFS vs EON Synergy

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Next, we have last year’s European Champions EON Synergy against RJFS for their second round of fights and the second round of matches for the tournament overall. The Russian Jade Falcons managed to take the first game quite soundly, but EON came back strong in the final two fights giving RJFS their first loss of the tournament. One more loss and RJFS will be heading home empty-handed at this year’s World Championships.

The Black Watch continued their winning streak in their next game against The First Jaguar Guards but not before having a trio of prolonged fights against the Jaguars. The Canyon battleground was once again covered in laser and PPC fire as both teams fielded two lances of Supernovas, Night Gyrs, and Hunchback IICs, so no argument could be made that either side had a technological advantage. The superior piloting of the Black Watch pilots proved telling, allowing them to emerge victorious after three games.

Oz vs TCAF

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Just yesterday gave us our first match featuring the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces against Osiriz for their second match of the tournament. At first it seemed TCAF may be able to take the first match, but Osiriz cleverly managed to capture enough resource points so that TCAF was not able to respond in time to prevent a victory. Osiriz also took the second game after several ferocious exchanges of fire, with not a single ‘Mech stumbling from the battlefield without critical damage. Osiriz continues their streak without a single loss.

Emp Vs PHL

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last year’s World Champs, EmpyreaL, had their first match of the tournament against the loveable underdogs, Phoenix Legion. Phoenix Legion came out swinging, but the tournament veterans played the long game by reserving enough armor to take them into the later stages of the game while Phoenix Legion lost too much stamina to continue. The second match was much slower than the first as both teams went for a capture strategy, but unfortunately Phoenix Legion fell prey to a surprise push by EmpyreaL as they brought their heavy and assault ‘Mechs to the center of the map in a risky move that caught out several lighter Legion machines. After securing an easy three kills EmpyreaL went on to take the win.

Our next game has Dropship 5 fighting for survival against the First Jaguar Guards. Dropship 5 managed to barely hold on to victory in the first game, but couldn’t maintain their grip to win the final two games as the Jaguar Guards rallied and took two decisive victories. This means Dropship 5 is eliminated from the tournament – a surprise ending for the current MRBC North American Division A champions.

RJFS vs WDMC

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Another team on the chopping block is White Death Mercenary Company as they competed against Russian Jade Falcons/Spikes on Sunday night. White Death seemed somewhat uncoordinated in their first game, losing a ‘Mech to a friendly fire incident. Their second game didn’t go any better, losing their entire team while RJFS lost but a single pilot. White Death Mercenary Company goes home empty-handed after their pair of losses in the tournament.

Our last pair of matches only contained losing teams, making them do or die for both combatants. The Wild Ones were looking to redeem themselves against the Phoenix Legion, and they did by taking the match two games to zero. Phoenix Legion employed some interesting strategy that flirted with brilliance at times, and perhaps with some refinement on the off-season, they’ll be able to return next year to make a more successful World Championship run. Kudos to you, Phoenix Legion, and here’s to next year.

PHL vs Wild Ones

via Piranha Games on Twitch

The last match of the weekend pits Steel Jaguars against the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces. TCAF seemed very timid in their first match, taking air strikes and long-range fire without responding, ultimately handing the Steel Jaguars victory. The second round on HPG Manifold started in a much better position for TCAF, even taking an early kill on a Jaguar Supernova, but then the Jaguars managed to maneuver behind TCAF and start eating into their delicate back armor. After several kills, TCAF’s forces completely fell apart, allowing the Steel Jaguars to move on to the next round.

BanditB17 and mdmzero

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Thus we head into the next round with 10 teams remaining and two matches of undefeated teams that could be a preview of what we’ll find in the final round. The Black Watch and Eon Synergy will compete in a battle of European and North American juggernauts, while EmpyreaL and Osiriz will face off in a match that will end one team’s undefeated streak. Osiriz seems to be the team to watch as they have emerged from the starting round with several commanding wins already under their belt, while EmpyreaL seemed slightly sluggish in their first round against Phoenix Legion.

Meanwhile, it will be another fight for survival in the opposite brackets, as Steel Jaguars face The Wild Ones and RJFS face the First Jaguar Guards. These veteran teams are sure to put on an incredible performance to maintain their place in the World Championship.

Stay Tuned to Piranha Games’ Twitch channel for more ‘Mech action as the games resume next Friday night.

New Details Emerge For MechWarrior 5

New Details Emerge For MechWarrior 5

courtesy of mw5mercs.com

As Mech_Con once again fast approaches, we’re being teased with more details on the upcoming single-player BattleTech simulator, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Just this month, PC Gamer revealed they will be running a feature article in their November issue which provides us with tantalizing info on what to expect in the first new single-player MechWarrior in over a decade.

We know from a PC Gamer article earlier this year that MechWarrior 5 will take place in the classic era of BattleTech, between the years 3015 and 3049, and much like its spiritual predecessor MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, you’ll start with a single beat-up light ‘Mech and work your way up to becoming a full lance of the biggest and toughest ‘Mechs the Inner Sphere has to offer.

What the upcoming PC Gamer issue reveals is that unlike previous MechWarrior titles, this one won’t allow nearly as much customization as previous entries in the series. Gone are the days when you can buy any old ‘Mech and turn it into a one-man army with some Endo Steel and XL Engine upgrades, as many aspects of a ‘Mech’s anatomy will be fixed to the chassis. Instead, prospective buyers will have to scour the constantly changing market to find a ‘Mech with the specific features they want, and then tweak the existing weaponry to get it just how they like it.

Shadowhawk

courtesy of mw5mercs.com

While ‘Mechs themselves won’t have nearly as much customization when it comes to their weapons loadout, the weapons themselves will have slight variations for pilots to play with. Each weapon system will have multiple manufacturers with each manufacturer giving slightly different performance. One AC/5 might have a bit more power, but another manufacturer’s AC/5 might reload a second faster, and so on. It’s not what we’re used to, but it does seem to fit more with the lore than the anything-goes customization of games gone past.

Everything about MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will be dynamic: missions will be dynamically created, terrain will be randomly generated, and armor and structure will have multiple stages of destruction (rather than going from “chipped paint” to “on fire” all at once). Perhaps best of all, the entire environment will be destructible, so if you want to walk your 55-ton engine of death through a building to surprise the tank platoon on the other side you can do that too.

Finally, we’ve got two new ‘Mechs to add to the known list of machines included in the game. The Shadow Hawk and Raven were revealed last year with their pre-alpha footage, and now we know the Jagermech and Atlas will also make an appearance.

The PC Gamer article goes into way more detail, as well as providing a first-hand account of the author’s time with the playable alpha, so I encourage you all to pick up a copy of the November issue when it releases. Or you can get a digital copy here.

MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Finals Have Begun!

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The MechWarrior Online World Championship semifinals have begun! The qualifiers ended as of September 16th, and the top 12 teams in the world have officially been chosen to represent the best that MechWarrior Online has to offer for the World Championship. It was a grueling few months of near-constant ‘Mech combat, but after months of trials, the 12 teams have taken their place in the tournament’s double-elimination seeded brackets.

First, a brief explanation of the tournament structure as things are a bit different from last year. Rather than have a separate tournament for each region and then having the top team from each region go to the Finals in Vancouver, this year there are no regions and only the top 12 teams from around the world are invited to take part in the tournament. While this does mean that there are certainly more North American and European teams in the top 12 than Oceanic teams, it also means that those teams are on a much more similar skill level, which will hopefully produce some fantastic fights.

2016 World Champs

via mechwarrior.com

Also, rather than a large round-robin phase, the tournament has been simplified to be a seeded double-elimination structure. The top 4 teams will get a pass on the first round of fighting, and then it becomes a simple matter of losing twice and you’re out. This naturally means that the top 4 teams have a slight advantage as they have to play fewer games than everyone else, but it’s far from insurmountable.

And now let’s take a look at our competitors. First, we have Russian Jade Falcon Spikes, which seem to be an amalgamation of the MRBC League’s Russian Jade Falcons and Black Spikes teams. Russian Jade Falcon was relegated into Division B during last season of the MRBC, but Black Spikes came in second place in Division A. Perhaps the best of the best from both teams will create a world champion.

 

Next up we have two teams from the massive MWO conglomerate 288th IBR, The Black Watch and The Wild Ones. The Black Watch finished third in the North American Division A standings with the MRBC, while The Wild Ones finished second in the Asia/Pacific Division A. Both are filled with veteran players that are sure to give any team they face a run for their money.

North America’s second place from Division A last season return to the World Championships, with the Steel Jaguars finding themselves opposite The Black Watch in their first match of the semifinals. The two teams faced off against each other twice in the previous season of the MRBC, with each team achieving a single victory. It’ll be interesting to see if any bad blood remains between the two North American juggernauts.

 

Dropship Five appears to have also made the semifinals, which comes as no surprise to competitive ‘MechWarrior fans. Dropship Five had an amazing performance in the MRBC’s season 9 and took top honors in North America. They’ll definitely be a team to watch as the tournament progresses.

The fourth team from North America Division A, and finishing fourth in season 9, is Osiriz. Their first year at the MRBC established themselves as a team not to be trifled with, and their appearance at the World Championships cements their reputation. Osiriz will face Dropship Five in their first tournament match, and once again both teams have an even record against each other. Who will emerge the victor in their third face-off is anybody’s guess.

  Osiriz  

Our second purely European team to make it to the World Championships is The White Death Mercenary Company. They had a fantastic 9th season with the MRBC, finishing third overall in Division A. A strong team with an even stronger history will surely go far in the this year’s tournament.

We have a pretty amazing upset for our next team to reach the World Championships; Division B Stalwarts Phoenix Legion have achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to secure a spot in this year’s tournament. The only Division B team to make it to the semifinals, one simply can’t help but root for the underdogs. Let’s hope they continue to impress.

  Phoenix Legion

The next team to make the Worlds is The First Jaguar Guards, our second Asia/Pacific team to prove themselves worthy. The First Jaguar Guards did not take part in season nine of the MRBC and, judging by a quick Google search, that could be owing to some internal drama within the team. However, they placed first in the A/P region the three previous consecutive years, so this is definitely a team not to be taken lightly. Let’s hope that whatever internal strife that was present is long over and the team is ready to focus on their tournament run.

Europe’s dominant force, Eon Synergy, has once again come to the World Championship, and this time they’re hoping to bring home the crown. They had a commanding performance in the European rankings with the MRBC, only losing nine of their fifty total games. They lost to last year’s champions, Empyreal, in the final round of the tournament, and I’m sure they’re gunning for the top spot this year.

  TCAF

Europe’s fourth-place team in season 9 with the MRBC, the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces, have also found their way to the World Championships, and they’ve achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to be placed in the top 4, giving them a by in the first round of matches. That’s quite the turnaround for a team that had a losing record in the previous MRBC season. Let’s see if they can keep that momentum going as we head into the semifinals.

And finally, last year’s world champions have returned to defend their crown: Empyreal. This team was an unstoppable force in the previous tournament, but a year has gone by, and while most of the teams heading to the World Championships have been practicing constantly, Empyreal did not take part in season nine with the MRBC. Will their lack of tournament exposure dull their skills, or will they once again stomp every team put before them?

  Empyreal


This year’s World Championships is shaping up to be the most exciting MechWarrior Online competitive tournament to date. We’ve already had one match played between Russian Jade Falcons Spike and The Wild Ones, with RJFS emerging victorious after three extremely tough fights. If this game is any indication, this will certainly be a World Championships for the record books.

The schedule of games can be found on the World Championship website here, however the exact dates are a little up in the air right now due to some scheduling issues between the teams. We should have a clarification on the dates shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for when next to tune in to the Piranha Games Twitch channel for more giant robot action.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BATTLETECH Backer Beta – Second Impressions

BATTLETECH

It’s been a few months since our first look at Harebrained Schemes upcoming BATTLETECH turn-based RPG, and I thought it a good idea to see how things are progressing. As reported last month there are lots of changes made to the game since its initial release in June, and while the original beta version had just as much giant stompy robot action as one could have hoped, it was still certainly a rough first draft. Let’s take a look to see how the second draft has shaped up.

As you may recall from my initial foray into BATTLETECH the AI handed me my metallic ass on a silver platter, forcing me to tip the scales in my favor with a massive weight advantage. I remembered too, so my first game did exactly the same thing, pitting my Centurion, Kintaro, Griffin, and Victor against an enemy lance consisting of a Jenner, Locust, Centurion, and a Commando.

From my first game, I’d come to appreciate the Centurion as a tough, workhorse medium ‘Mech, able to dish out as much punishment as it can take in return. The Kintaro, Griffin, and Victor were new designs (in terms of never having used them before) but seemed to make a good mix of long and short range firepower. My enemy would be highly mobile but vastly outgunned, and I hoped to use that to my advantage by simply barreling up to my foe and alpha-striking until they all dropped dead.

Nobody ever said I was a subtle tactician.

Game 1 - 1

Going into the match I remembered there were a lot of changes between the September version and June version of the game. To start, all MechWarriors now have two abilities to contend with rather than the original one. There would also be an increase in frequency and severity of critical hits, something that might drastically affect lighter ‘Mechs without nearly as much armor as my heavier units.

I was very right on that point.

My lance ambled up to the river and made a firing line while the enemy AI ran towards me at full speed. The Locust appeared first, firing its SRMs and medium laser into my Kintaro, which shrugged off the damage. I would continue to be impressed by the Kintaro’s toughness throughout the fight.

Of course, having run head-long into a firing line of 240 tons of guns and armor, the poor Locust did not survive the return salvo from my lance. One down, three to go.

Gif game 1 - 1

The enemy lance continued to approach, but still in a piecemeal fashion. Next up was the Jenner who, while tougher than the Locust, suffered grievous rents in its armor from a full blast of my Centurion’s weaponry. My Victor, which had been hiding in the forest that lined the ravine, then pounced on the poor Jenner, sealing its fate.

Compared with June, I noticed that the light ‘Mechs went down significantly easier than before. Three crits to the center torso are enough to destroy the engine, and it was knocking out lighter machines much faster than the heavier ones. Whether or not this will remain in the final product is yet to be seen, but for now I’d certainly recommend more heavily armored light ‘Mechs for survivability.

This left a Commando and a Centurion to contend with. The Commando took a full barrage from my Griffin as it peaked over a hillside, crippling it. It then suicide-charged into my Kintaro, who greeted it with a full fusillade of 18 SRMs. He never stood a chance.

Game 1 - 2

With my full lance encroaching on his position, the remaining enemy Centurion attempted to flee. The combined long-range firepower of my Griffin and Centurion managed to tag it before it could get too far away, and my Victor stepped behind it to wrench off the ‘Mech’s AC/10 with a few well-placed shots. My Kintaro then provided the coup de grâce.

Along with the ease by which lighter ‘Mechs succumbed to fire, I also noticed that the enemy AI seemed much easier than back in June. Also, the heat effects around a ‘Mech were much more noticeable, with an overheating ‘Mech glowing orange and a simmering machine displaying a hypnotic mirage as it dissipated its head load.

Gif game 1 - 2

Now that I’d been convinced I wasn’t about to get my ass kicked by a bunch of silicon, I decided a fair fight was in order. I queued up another game with both of us in roughly equivalent machines. My paired Centurions, a Panther, and Commando versus their Locust, Commando, Vindicator and Shadow Hawk. I hoped my Centurions would be able to tough out the worst of the damage thrown my way.

This time the two lances danced around each other for some time exchanging LRM fire, before a lucky shot from the opposing Shadow Hawk’s AC/5 blew out my Commando’s center torso. Horrible visions of my previous defeat danced through my head, and I desperately pivoted my remaining ‘Mechs away from the deadly Shadow Hawk.

Gif game 2 - 1

Lucky for me the enemy pursued with their lighter elements leading the charge, which allowed me to pivot back and pummel both the Commando and Locust into scrap with minimal damage to my own forces.

Thus began a long exchange of ranged fire as our lances faced off over a large gorge. My first Centurion was crippled, then killed by combined autocannon and PPC fire, but my brief ‘Mech advantage proved telling. The enemy Vindicator lost its PPC, and my own Panther’s PPC took the Shadow Hawk’s right arm off.

Game 2 - 1

To finally end the battle I decided to use the replacement to the morale mechanic called “focus”. I’m still not 100% sure how it works, but it seems to allow surviving, toughened MechWarriors to fire a hyper-accurate shot. I told my Centurion to focus and fire all remaining weapons, which finally took the Shadow Hawk down.

Gif game 2 - 2

The crippled Vindicator was easy prey for my Panther, who managed to perform a Death From Above maneuver successfully to further damage the already defeated machine. Risking overheat, I ordered my Centurion to alpha strike again and finally put the Vindicator down.

Obviously, given my stunning come-from-behind victory, the enemy AI in this game has been heavily tweaked since June. The survey that popped up following the match confirmed this by asking questions about enemy ‘Mech performance. I naturally answered the AI was perfect, since I’d just won, but at no point did I feel like I was facing a complete pushover. Only when I vastly outweighed my opponent did I feel like I was invincible, which is probably the way it should be.

Game 2 - 2

I had intended to make my third game a review of the nascent multiplayer experience, but unfortunately, the servers were down when I clicked it. So if you’d like to be featured on the next BATTLETECH Backer Beta, let me know in the comments and we’ll see if we can arrange a game!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Multiplayer Beta Is Coming, Final Release Pushed To 2018

beta_update

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

The BattleTech Single Player Beta is in full swing, with Harebrained Schemes crunching numbers and parsing data like no other developer has done before! Actually, I’m sure lots of developers have done it before, but this developer is working on a BattleTech game, so we’re giving them extra props.

It’s been nearly 2 months since the last Kickstarter Update after the release of the Single Player Beta, so that means it’s time for everyone to check in and see what’s happening next in terms of development. And what’s next is both exciting and a little bit disappointing, but mostly exciting. We’ll cover the exciting bits first.

As previously mentioned, HBS has been using feedback from the Single Player Beta to refine the player experience, and they’ve got a “significant” number of changes planned for the next update. Some of the weightier changes to be made include “major revisions” to the Evasion, Sensor Lock, and Evasive Move abilities, various balance tweaks to loads of weapon systems, a global heat reduction of 10%, and UI enhancements both in and out of combat.

That’s not all! There are quite a few other major changes on the way. The Morale mechanic is being completely replaced by a new system after survey feedback revealed that it unbalanced battles in favor of whichever side got the early kill, providing a snowball effect for that team. What the new system will be is anybody’s guess, but it was redesigned specifically to remove that snowball effect.

Critical Hit

courtesy of @kentnlsn on Twitter

Another major revision is the way critical hits work, becoming both being more frequent and more powerful. Only one lucky shot is required to set off a deadly ammo explosion from the previously required two, which means you should find ammo dependent ‘Mechs to be a little more vulnerable than before. Vital components, like weapons, actuators, and gyros will now take one shot to become damaged, and then become destroyed on the second crit.

Perhaps the most impactful revision is enhancements to enemy AI. Now instead of just being lumbering robots that move and shoot they’ll be lumbering robots that move, shoot, and use abilities. Also, all MechWarriors are getting a second ability, so this is sure to jack up the difficulty level to a place where I might feel inadequate, but I’m sure the rest of you will appreciate the challenge.

Finally, hot in from the BattleTech game forums comes Mitch with an update to the ‘Mech roster: the Firestarter is coming to BattleTech!  Get ready to light the world on fire with this highly flammable light ‘Mech. Fire retardant clothing is recommended.

Expect to see the Single Player Beta receive these updates by the end of the week.

Also coming up is a “Double-Secret” Multiplayer Beta Test, where the nascent multiplayer mode will be made available to eager beta testers who sign up for it. The Kickstarter Update did mention this is a very early test, which is why they’re not just rolling it out to everyone. Expect crashes and disconnects as they work out the bugs.

The Multiplayer Beta will be running for a few weeks while they work out the worst of the issues before rolling it out to the rest of the backers on a future update. Sign ups will be coming in a future Kickstarter update, so stay tuned there.

MechWarriors

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

And finally a bit of a bad news to round out all the good. This one comes straight from Jordan himself to soften the blow somewhat; the release for BattleTech has been postponed to the early part of 2018.

As Jordan writes in his update, “The message we’ve received has been clear, ‘Don’t rush it, just make it great.’” Truer words were never spoken. I’d far rather receive a fantastic game a year late than receive a crappy game a few months early. Nobody wants to see BattleTech get the EA treatment of being rushed out the door just to meet some corporate bigwig’s deadline.  

Once again HBS has shown that the community is developing this game just as much as the coders are, and they’re both willing and eager to accept feedback to make the best game possible. While nobody wants to hear delays, the open communication is something both rare and essential when creating a game for a community as passionate as BattleTech’s.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy